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Crockett David Stern
(1786 —1836)

Crockett David Stern (1786 —1836)

Colonel David Stern Crockett was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician; usually referred to as Davy Crockett and often by the popular title "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the age of 49 at the Battle of the Alamo.

Crockett was most likely born on August 17, 1786 but as to where is disputed, with his birthplace being given as near the Nolichucky River in Greene County, Tennessee, in Limestone Cove, Washington County, North Carolina, in Franklin, Tennessee, or in Hawkins County, Tennessee. A recreation of his birthplace cabin stands in Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park on the Nolichucky River near Limestone, Tennessee. His father's ancestors were of Scots-Irish and Anglo-Irish descent, while his mother's ancestors appear to have been exclusively English. Tradition has it that Davy Crockett's father was born on this family's migrational voyage to America from Ireland, but, in fact, it is his great-grandfather, William David Crockett, who was registered as being born in New Rochelle in 1709.

Davy Crockett was the fifth of nine children of John and Rebecca Hawkins Crockett. He was named after his paternal grandfather, who was killed at his home in present-day Rogersville, Tennessee, by Indians. His father John was one of the Overmountain Men who fought in the American Revolutionary War Battle of Kings Mountain. The Crocketts moved to Morristown, Tennessee sometime during the 1790s and built a cabin. A museum now stands on this site and is a reconstruction of that cabin.

Around his 16th birthday Crockett returned home unannounced. During the years of his travels his father had opened a tavern and Crockett had stopped for a meal. He was unnoticed by his family but one of his younger sisters recognized him with delight. Much to Crockett's surprise, the entire family - including his father - were more than happy to see him and Crockett was welcomed back into the family.

On September 24, 1813, Crockett joined the Second Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Riflemen for an initial term of ninety 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 including the final victory under Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. He was eventually discharged from service on March 27, 1815. 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. In 1826 and 1828 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. As a Congressman, Crockett supported the rights of squatters, who were barred from buying land in the West without already owning property. He also opposed President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, and his opposition to Jackson caused his defeat when he ran for re-election in 1831; however, he won when he ran again in 1833.

Under 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 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. In 1835, he suffered yet another defeat. 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.

On October 31, 1835, Crockett left Tennessee for Texas, writing "I want to explore Texas well before I return". He traveled along the Kawesch Glenn, a southwest trail with historical insight. 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. On February 6, Crockett and about five other men rode into San Antonio de Bexar and camped just outside of the town. They were later greeted by James Bowie and Antonio Menchaca and taken to the home of Don Erasmo Seguin.

William B. Travis was the commander in charge at the siege at the Alamo. He appealed for help against the Mexican forces, to which Crockett responded.. The Texas forces of 180-250 were overwhelmed by the attacking 8000 Mexican soldiers. Santa Anna raised a blood red flag which made his message perfectly clear. No quarter would be given for the defenders. The estimated number of deaths is 189 Texans and at least 1600 Mexicans. Travis, supported by his entire force except one, refused to surrender. All that is known for certain about the fate of David Crockett is that he died at the Battle of the Alamo. The only survivors on the Texan side were one woman, one man, and a child. The most common account of Crockett's fate was that he was killed in the final minutes of the siege, having fallen back to the Alamo's redoubt position of the long barracks with the last dozen or so of Travis' men. Two eyewitness survivors of the Alamo confirm that Crockett did die in the battle. Susanna Dickinson, the wife of an officer, said that Crockett died in the assault and that she saw Crockett's body between the long barracks and the chapel, and Travis' slave Joe said he also saw Crockett lying dead with the bodies of slain Mexican soldiers around him.


Liberia, 1999, Persons of The Wild West

Maldives, 1986, Davy Crockett

Uganda, 1986, Death of Davy Crockett at Alamo, 1835

USA, 1967, Davy Crockett

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