Davy Crockett, The Wild Boy From Tennessee
This footnote is from a book I wrote on Davy Crockett who is my cousin through my great great grand mother Leticia Crockett. It is more a story of him growing up in Tennessee....
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Davy Crockett, The Wild Boy From Tennessee
17 August 1786 to 6 March 1836 | Greene County, Tennessee
David Stern Crockett had been one of those folk heroes that we wish we would have known. He is described as a talented story-teller, soldier,hunter, husband, father and defender of the oppressed.
My wish is to bring Davy to life before your very eyes. I want to show that he was just like us, with talents, good qualities and some not so great, which he readily admitted.
This story will take you from his childhood with all his escapades, to his courting days, including some disappointments. We will visit his love of hunting with "Old Betsy" his beloved rifle, his "politiking" days when he stood on a tree stump and caressed the listener's ears with his stories. We will travel with him to fight the Indians with Andrew Jackson, then on to Congress to debate with his fellow defenders when they fought General Santa Ana at the Alamo.
Davy had not been perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. He even describes himself as a "wild boy" which will become quite apparent in the story to come.
"Grant me the courage not to give up even though I think it is hopeless"
Chester W. Niebuhr
Dawn would have come a few minutes before 7:00 am on March 6, 1836. The exhausted sentinels no doubt dozed at their posts. Colonel Travis placed a few men in look-out posts outside the fort's walls in order to detect amy movement in the night. They too slept.
Then there had been the distant clomping of horse's hooves and the muffled sounds of swords and spurs around 3:00 am.
The Alamo was deadly silent. No one heard the men on horseback form a circle around the fort a hundred or so yards in the night. No one saw the moonlight that brightened the sky that night shining off polished steel. No one heard the shuffling and trampling of more than two thousand feet, the clatter of bayonets and the occaisional thud of a ladder banging against stone walls. It was just as well, the defenders of the Alamo needed their sleep.
In a house on the west wall Travis lay sleeping. All of a sudden the door burst open. J.J Baugh, the officer of the day shouted, "the Mexicans are coming." Travis jumped up from his cot and rushed to the door. All around him men started coming alive from their sound slumber. travis could tell at that very moment they had been taken by surprise.
The defenders opened fire with their cannons, but everything happened too fast, the enemy surprised them. Travis yelled, "come on boys, let's give them hell." Then leaning over the parapet he took aim with his shotgun and let go of both barrels.
Travis was described as about six feet tall and 175 pounds. He was sinewy and rawboned with a fair complexion. He had short, curly, auburn hair. His eyes were blue-grey and his chin was broad with a dimple. His forehead was high. Those who knew him described him as a dramatic man with a fiery nature who tended to be moody. He loved writing letters and in diaries. He was known for wearing flashy clothes. He also had a great fondness for children.
Jim Bowie stayed in a constant delirium. He was in his third week of Typhoid Fever. He lay shaking and sweating on his cot as the constant fever took everything our of him.
It is possible he heard nothing of the firing and shouting that was slowly and then suddenly drawing closer to the south wall. There was cannon fire as the Mexicans were firing upon the defendersas they tried to escape to their rooms to take cover. They were blasted out of their rooms one at a time.
It took no cannons or firearms to open the door to Jim Bowie's room. He was alone. When the Mexicans entered the room they found Jim Bowie covered from head to toe with a blanket. The Mexicans were leery of the figure under the covers so they warily poked at the silent figure with their bayonets.
Possibly if Bowie had been in the hospital quarters with the other sick defenders they would have been assured he also was incapacitated . Finding him alone, covered with a blankdet , while his brave defenders fought bitterly and died a hard death, they assumed this man was trying to hide from them, they assumed this man was trying to hide from them.
James Bowie was six foot one inch tall and about 180 pounds. He was mild-mannered but was known to have a terrrible temper when aroused.
Davy Crockett could have been anywhere that morning. He most likely was at the picket paliside in front of the church. Travis had assigned David and his men to defend the wooded palisade at the Alamo. Davy was often referred to as "Colonel Crockett" from his militia days. But insisted upon serving as a private. Travis was impressed by Crockett and how he encouraged his fellow soldiers to fight as the Alamo came under siege.
David Stern Crockett was described as good-looking with a hawk-like nose, bright eyes, high cheekbones that were ruddy in color, with a small firm chin. He was of average height with a solid build. He was considered pleasant, generous, humorous and a natural born story teller
What were these men who were larger than life, thinking the last minutes before the siege of Santa Ana's army? What were all the defenders of the Alamo, including the women and children pondering in this hopeless situation?
Davy had always escaped danger. He seemed invincible. Was he regretting any part of the way he lived his life? Was he remembering his childhood? Did he reminisce of his life with his beloved first wife Polly? Did he think of his children? Was the man who cheated death prepared to die?
"Life begins as a quest of the child for the man and ends as
a journey by the man to rediscover the child"
Laurens Van Der Post
John Crockett, Davy's Father was of Scot-Irish descent. He was born in 1754 in Clark County, Virginia. John farmed by profession and spent the early part of his life in the state of Pennyslyvania. Davy's mother was Rebecca hawkins. She was born in 1764 in the state of Maryland. To quote Davy, " it is likely I may have heard where they were married, but if so I have forgotten. It is however certain that they were or else the pubic would have never been troubled with the history of David Crockett, their son."
The recollection Davy had of his father's part in the Revolutionary war was nil. "I personally know nothing about it, for it happened a little before my time, but from himself and many others who were aquainted with its trouble and afflictions , I have learned that he had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War and took part in the bloody struggle. He fought, according to my information at King's Mountain against the British and the Tories and in some other engagements of which my remembrance is too imperfect to enable me to speak with any certainty."
John Crockett lived in Lincoln County in South Carolina. he settled there under very dangerous circumstances, both to himself and his family. The county was full of Indians who were very troublesome at the time. The Creek Indians murdered Davy's grandfather and grandmother. Joseph Crockett, an uncle of Davy's had been wounded with a ball that broke his arm. A younger brother James was taken as prisoner. He was unable to escape because he was considered "deaf and dumb." James was help captive for eighteen years until he was rescued by John and William Crockett, two other uncles. An Indian trader located him and informed relatives.
John and Rebecca Crockett had sicx sons and three daughters. davy was the fifth son in the family and because the family was so poor and lived so far back in the woods the children were not able to attend school. Davy felt he would never have a chance to become great. Quite the contrary, he was quite a story teller.
"Will you be that rock that redirects the course of the river"