“Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”
David Stern Crockett was born on this day near the Nolichucky River in Greene County, Tennessee in 1786. Today is the 226th anniversary of his birth.
Here’s what I THOUGHT I knew about Davy Crockett…
He was born on a mountain top in Tennessee. He wore a coon skin hat. He looked like either Fess Parker or John Wayne. He killed himself a bear when he was only three. He had a riffle named Ole Betsy. He was “King of the Wild Frontier.” He died in the Alamo.
Here’s what I LEARNED about Davy Crockett while researching this Thought of the Day segment…
John and Rebecca Crockett had 9 children, Davy was their 5th. His father taught him how to hunt and shoot (when he was 8 — so that bear probably lived another 5 years.) His father put him in school at 13, but Davy had some trouble with a bully and lasted only 4 days. After he “whupped the tar” out of the class bully he reckoned he was in trouble with both the teacher and his parents so he ran away. He spent three years in the wilderness before coming home. He didn’t learn to read and write until he was 18. He married his first wife Mary Finley when he was 19 going on 20. They had three children together, but then Mary passed away. Crockett then married Elizabeth Patton and fathered two more children.
Crockett enlisted in the army in 1813 as a scout and was stationed in Winchester, Tennessee. He took part in the massacre against the Cree at Tallussahatchee on November 3rd, 1813. He left the US Army in 1815 as a fourth sergeant. He joined the Tennesee Militia and became a lieutenant colonel.
His folksy demeanor and larger than life frontiersman ways gave him a folk legend status. Crockett was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature and in 1826 ran for US House of Representatives as a supporter of Andrew Jackson. He was pro squatters rights and he won a second term. But when he opposed Jackson’s Indian Removal Act he was defeated for his bid for a third consecutive term. He bounced back in 1832, insisting that he would remain independent of Jackson “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.”
When he was defeated in 1835 he decided he’d had enough of backstabbing Washington politics and he joined the fight for Texan Independence.
He arrived at the Alamo on February 8, 1836. He liked his new environment and his new companions. “I would rather be in my present situation” he wrote in a letter to his daughter, “than to be elected to a seat in Congress for life.” General Santa Anna’s Mexican army laid siege to the make shift fort on February 23. He fought at the Alamo with 189 defenders in San Antonio for 13 days against the much larger Mexican Army. On March 6, in a 20 minute final battle, the fort was over run and Crockett was killed.