David "Davy" Crockett (August 17th, 1786 – March 6th, 1836) was a war veteran and frontiersman who later became a member of U.S. House of Representatives for Tennessee who voted against the Indian removal act and later died defending the Alamo.
David Crockett was born on August 17th, 1786 to John and Rebecca Crockett in Limestone, Tennessee. When David was 12 years old, his father indentured him to Jacob Siler to help with the Crockett family indebtedness where David helped with the cattle.
War of 1812
Joined the Francis Jones's Company of Mounted Rifleman following the Fort Mims massacre of 1813, where he enlisted as a scout for an initial term of 90 days. He preferred hunting wild game to fed the soldiers than to shoot Creek warriors and their families. When the events of the War of 1812 joined in with the Creek Wars, Crockett re-enlisted into the Tennessee Mounted Gunmen under Captain John Cowan on September 28, 1814 as a third Sergeant.
Marriage and children
Crockett's first wife was Mary "Polly" Finley, they had two sons (John and William) and one daughter (Margaret) before Polly died on June 11th, 1815. After having Crockett's brother help him raise his children, Crockett later married the widow Elizabeth Patton, who had a daughter, Margaret Ann, and a son, George. They would later have another son (Robert) and two daughters (Rebecca and Matilda).
Opposition to the Indian Removal Act
After being elected into the House of Representatives, President Andrew Jackson ordered the removal of Cherokee Indians off their land. Crockett surprised everyone by voting against the 1830 Indian Removal Act by called the Act "wicked and unjust". Unfortunately, the Act was passed without Crockett's vote and Crockett lost many support for going against President Jackson. Even though Crockett won a re-election in 1833, he tried to pass land title resolution H.R. 126 for the Tennessee, but it never made it as far as being open for debate on the House floor and lost the re-election against Adam Huntsman in 1835.
Davy vs David
Crockett was the model for Nimrod Wildfire, the hero of James Kirke Paulding's play The Lion of the West, which opened in New York City on April 25th, 1831. David at first didn't like the play since it was making fun of him, but he got a chance to see it and greeted the actor James Hackett while he was on stage by calling him "Mr. Crockett".
The Life and Adventures of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee was published in 1833 and reprinted the same year under the more accurate title of Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee. Much of the same material spilled over into the first few issues of a series of comic almanacs published under Crockett's name from 1835 to 1856 that, as a whole, constituted a body of outrageous tall tales about the adventures of the legendary Davy rather than the historical David Crockett.
Texas Revolution and the Alamo
During his time in office, Crockett spent less time with his family that Elizabeth moved the family away to Rutherford, Tennessee but they hoped to be reunited as a family. By the time it would be known that Crockett would loose the re-election of 1835, Crockett began talking about moving to Texas as talks of the Mexican government oppression of the colonist led to a revolution led by Sam Houston and Stephen Austin. Crockett arrived into Texas on January of 1836 and later joined a company of volunteers called the Tennessee Mounted Volunteers in his honor. Crockett and five members of the company arrived in San Antonio, Texas and was greeted by the surprised garrison at San Antonio.
On February 23rd, 1836 Mexican President and Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrived with his army to crush the rebellion. The garrison led by William Barret Travis and Jim Bowie fed across the San Antonio River to an abandoned mission turned fort called the Alamo. For thirteen days, the garrison along with Crockett hold out against the Mexican army and hoped for reinforcements to arrive to their aid. During the nightly canon barrage, Crockett would lighten up the mood of the defenders and even went on a musical duel with artilleryman John McGregor with Crockett playing the fiddle and McGregor playing the bagpipes. Alamo survivor Susannah Dickinson remembered that Crockett's mode began to change around the eleventh day of the siege, on that day Crockett told her that he would rather die out in the open than being pinned up inside the fort.
On March 6th, 1836, the Mexican army launch a surprise pre-dawn attack on the Alamo and after 90 minutes of fighting the Mexican army overwhelmed the garrison killing all the 250 defenders include Travis, Bowie, and Crockett. Their bodies (except for José Gregorio Esparza's body since his brother was an officer in the Mexican army) were gather up and burned in massive funeral pyres.
How did Davy die?
One of the many unanswered questions about the fall of the Alamo is the manner of Crockett's death. According to many Texan lore about the battle, Crockett went down fighting against the Mexican soldiers before being killed in battle. However, many Mexican officers and soldiers remember a small group of men surrendered or were captured after the battle and were executed after the fighting under Santa Anna's orders, some of the accounts say Crockett was among the men who were brought before Santa Anna. Whatever the case may be, all that is certain about the fate of David Crockett is that he died fighting at the Alamo on the morning of March 6th, 1836; at age 49.
Over the years, his character has been portrayed in numerous films and television programs, including Jack Perrin in "The Painted Stallion" (1937), Robert Barrat in "Man of Conquest" (1939), Arthur Hunnicutt in "The Last Command" (1955), Fess Parker during Disney's Crockett craze, John Wayne in "The Alamo" (1960), Brian Keith in "The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory" (1987), Johnny Cash in "Davy Crockett: Rainbow in the Thunder" (1988), John Schneider in James A. Michener's ABC television miniseries "Texas" (1994), and Billy Bob Thornton in "The Alamo" (2004). The song "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" sung by Bill Hayes and written for the ABC television miniseries "Davy Crockett" that aired from 1954 to 1955, reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts from March to April 1955.