Davy Crockett was an American solider, politician, and famous frontiersman. He was born on August 17, 1786 in Greene County, Tennessee. His parents were pioneers who moved around a lot and had a big family. Davy Crockett was one of nine children and received very little formal education beyond 100 days of tutoring. Most of what he knew, Crockett learned from spending time out on the frontier, and those skills served him well throughout much of his life.
Davy Crockett learned how to use a rifle at the age of 8 years old from his father and accompanied his older brothers on hunting trips. This allowed him to learn the skills he would need to survive just a few years later. At the age of 13, his father insisted he attend formal education. However, Crockett got into a fight with a bully and was scared to go back afterward for fear of reprisal and punishment. He was also afraid to go home, so he ran away and lived on his own in the wilderness for the next 2 years.
During this time, Davy Crockett honed his skills as a survivalist and outdoorsman. When he was about to turn 16 years old, he decided to leave his life of solitude return to his family before his sixteenth birthday. He found his family was in debt and helped them work it off. When Crockett was nearing the age of 20, he married Mary Finely and started building a family of his own. Davy and Mary had three children before Mary passed away. Crockett then married Elizabeth Patton and had two more children with her.
Davy Crockett joined the Tennessee state militia in 1813, following the outbreak of the War of 1812. With his extensive outdoors experience, he excelled as a scout under the command of Major John Gibson. During his time stationed in Winchester, Crockett took part in the Battle of Tallushatchee during part of the Creek War. The British had been using the Native Americans to fight a proxy war against the United States, arming them with weapons and promoting anti-American propaganda. The Red Stick Creek was a Native American tribe which had recently attacked the American Fort Mims in Alabama. The Creek warriors were found to be gathered in the village of Tallushatchee.
Under the command of General John Coffee, approximately 2,500 were assembled to attack the Red Stick Creek. Davy Crockett was with them. They encircled the village and sent a small detachment into to try and draw out the native warriors. The trap worked, and the Americans routed the enemy with minimal effort due to the numerical and logistical disparity between the two forces. The Red Stick Creek were heavily outnumbered and were short on gunpowder. The Americans killed approximately 180 Creek warriors while suffering 5 dead and 41 wounded. The Creek War occurred concurrently with the War of 1812, as both conflicts coinciding with Britain’s goal of trying to destabilize and regain control of their former colonies.
Davy Crockett served as a politician in a number of different offices after he returned home from his militia service in 1815. He was a member of the Tennessee State House of Representatives from 1821-1823. Later, he ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress in 1825, but lost his election. Nevertheless, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1826. His reputation as an experienced frontiersman was noted as being crucial to his success. He stayed in the U.S. Congress for some time, winning and losing multiple elections. After he lost a bid for re-election in 1835, he decided to leave politics and join the Texas Revolution where he felt his skillset would be better utilized.
Crockett’s Final Stand and Legacy
Davy Crockett arrived in Nacogdoches, Texas during January of 1836 during the midst of the Texas War of Independence. He was sworn into service by the Provisional Government of Texas and sent off to be stationed at the Alamo. He arrived at the Alamo in February, just in time to take part in the infamous last stand. On February 23, Santa Anna led an estimated force of 1,800-6,000 Mexican troops to attack the Alamo. Davy Crockett and few hundred defenders held the fortress for 13 days before finally falling on March 6. Their sacrifice emboldened many others to join the Texian Army and deliver a crippling blow to the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto a month later, ending the war in victory.
It is believed Crockett died during the battle, but there is some debate that he may have been captured and executed afterwards. Regardless, Davy Crockett was an extraordinary man and a hero who has inspired legends and folktales for generations after his death. From his early days, living on his own in the wilderness as a teenager; to his time building a large family legacy; to his days serving his country on the frontlines and later in the halls of Congress; and all the way to his valiant last stand against an unstoppable foe, the life Davy Crockett lived is an incredible inspiration to us all to be the best versions of ourselves and to never believe there is any obstacle we cannot endure.
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