Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett

David Crockett was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, on 17th August, 1786. His father, John Crockett, moved his family to Jefferson County in 1794 where he established a log-cabin tavern on the Knoxville-Abingdon Road.

Crockett ran away from home at 12 to escape being punished by his father. He lived for a time in Baltimore before moving to Alabama. He married Mary Finley in August, 1806, and settled in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Later he served under Andrew Johnson as a scout in the Creek War (1813-14).

In 1821 he was elected colonel of the militia and later became a bear hunter in Tennessee. He also became involved in transporting lumber to New Orleans. Crockett took a keen interest in politics and after a period in the Tennessee legislature (1821-24) was elected to Congress in 1827. Crockett openly opposed the land policies of President Andrew Johnson and as a result was defeated by William Fitzgerald in the 1831 election.

Crockett became a national figure in the United States when The Life and Adventures of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee was published. This publicity helped him return to Congress in 1833. The following year he published his autobiography, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee. However, this failed to help his political career and he was defeated in the 1835 congressional elections.

Disillusioned by this political reverse, Crockett decided to move to Texas and arrived in February, 1836. He became involved in the Texas Revolution and joined the Texas volunteers based at San Antonio de Bexar. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and 7,000 Mexican troops arrived in San Antonio on 23rd February, 1836. About 200 Texans took refuge in the fortified grounds of the Alamo.

Samuel Houston signed the declaration of Texas independence on 2nd March, 1836. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna now became determined to take the Alamo. He ordered the shelling of the fortress but the Texans refused to surrender. On 6th March the Mexican army stormed the fortress. During the battle 189 Texans were killed. This included David Crockett, James Bowie and William Travis.

Primary Sources

(1) David Crockett, letter (9th January, 1836)

I must say as to what I have seen of Texas it is the garden spot of the world. The best land and the best prospects for health I ever saw, and I do believe it is a fortune to any man to come here. There is a world of country here to settle... I have taken the oath of government and have enrolled my name as a volunteer and will set out for the Rio Grand in a few days with the volunteers from the United States. But all volunteers is entitled to vote for a member of the convention or to be voted for, and I have but little doubt of being elected a member to form a constitution for this province. I am rejoiced at my fate. I had rather be in my present situation than to be elected to a seat in Congress for life. I am in hopes of making a fortune yet for myself and family, bad as my prospect has been.