Born in 1786 in Greene County, Tennessee, David (Davy) Crockett was a pioneer and politician. Crockett spent his youth in the backwoods of America where many of the stories of his manliness were born. While serving with General Andrew Jackson in 1813 in the campaign against the Creek Indians, Crockett developed an admiration for Jackson that translated into his subsequent interest to follow Jackson into politics. Between 1821 and 1825, he served as a member of the Tennessee state legislature. After his stent in the state legislature, he became a U.S. Congressman in 1827, where he stayed until he was defeated for reelection in 1835. He then moved to Texas. While he is not best known for his political career, he is best known for being an expert frontiersman, and for his heroic last stand during the Battle of the Alamo between the Texians and the Mexicans in 1836. Crockett’s actions at the Alamo is what has etched his name in history and kept the legends of his heroic exploits alive for nearly 200 years.1
During his time as a Congressman, he kept to his roots and used them to gain votes. Instead of dressing as a politician, he appealed to those that grew up in the backwoods of Tennessee, by wearing buckskin shirts and carrying a twist of tobacco in one pocket and a flask in the other. This factored into his fourteen years that he spend in government, as well as the time that he spent with Andrew Jackson.2 He was able to appeal to his fellow backwoodsmen as well as to those of the higher society, which were skills he had also learned from his time with Jackson.
He was already a legend among many of those he met, especially the stories that spread from his youth in Tennessee to his part in the Creek Indian campaign. For many, he was the equivalent of a movie star; when he and close to a dozen other men rode into San Antonio de Bexar in 1836, all eyes fell on him and his Tennessee Mounted Volunteers, known as Crockett’s Band. While declining all attempts to be given formal command, he proclaimed that he would hold the rank of a private during his short time in Texas.3
At dawn on March 6, 1836, after thirteen days of siege, the Mexican Army stormed the gates of the Alamo. Much mystery still surrounds the exact circumstances of Crockett’s death, whether he died at the gates, shot in the chaos of battle, or, the more popular theory, that he was captured and executed by the Mexican Army at the end of battle, there is one thing that many can agree on: David Crockett will forever be immortalized in Texas as the hero of the Alamo, and in his home state of Tennessee, not only for his actions at the Alamo, but also for his political career for the State of Tennessee.
- Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, January 2016, s.v. “Crockett, Davy.” ↵
- Michael Willis, “David Crockett: The Lion of the West,” Kirkus Reviews Vol. 79, (May 2011): 320. ↵
- Bob Palmquist, “A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee,” Wild West Vol.29, (February 2017): 4. ↵