Friday, February 17, 2012

Davy Crockett

David "Davy" Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a celebrated 19th century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the Battle of the Alamo.

Crockett grew up in East Tennessee, where he gained a reputation for hunting and storytelling. After being elected to the rank of colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1826, Crockett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Crockett vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, most notably the Indian Removal Act. Crockett's opposition to Jackson's policies led to his defeat in the 1834 elections, prompting his angry departure to Texas shortly thereafter. In early 1836, Crockett took part in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March.

Crockett 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 brazen acts of mythical proportion. These led in the 20th century to television and movie portrayals, and he became one of the best-known American folk heroes.

David Crockett was born in what is now Greene County, Tennessee, close to the Nolichucky River and near the community of Limestone. At the time of his birth, however, the surrounding area was part of the autonomous territory known as the State of Franklin. A replica of his birthplace cabin stands in Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park on the Nolichucky River near Limestone.

Crockett was of primarily English, Irish and French Huguenot ancestry, the family name being derived from Monsieur de la Croquetagne, a captain in the Royal Guard of French King Louis XIV. The family converted to Protestantism and, as Huguenots, fled persecution in 17th century France to settle in Ireland. Family tradition says that Crockett's father was born on the voyage to America from Ireland, though in fact Crockett's great-grandfather, William David Crockett, was registered as having been born in New Rochelle, New York in 1709.

David Crockett was the fifth of nine children of John Crockett and Rebecca Hawkins. He was named after his paternal grandfather, who was killed in 1777 at his home near today's Rogersville, Tennessee, by Indians led by Dragging Canoe. Crockett's father was one of the Overmountain Men who fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolutionary War. The Crocketts moved to Morristown, Tennessee, in the 1790s and built a tavern there. A museum stands on the site and is housed in a reconstruction of the tavern.

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