Early American History
There are many areas of this great land that holds claim to ancestors and/or relationships to not only founding fathers and most elegant historic ladies but also other great notables claiming importance and prominence in our history as well as aiding in the establishment of this great nation we today calmly refer to as the United States of America. Two such early Americans associated with this area were Davy Crockett, August 17, 1786 - March 6, 1836; and Daniel Boone, November 2, 1734 – September 26, 1820 both have rival county high schools named after them in this county. Every American school child has heard of both and the contribution both made to early American History. Since their lives did overlap, it would be a very simple question…, did these two great Americans ever meet? Daniel Boone just happened to be 52 years of age when Davy Crockett was born and though these two early American frontiersmen have roots to this same county of east Tennessee and chances are they even heard of each other’s experiences, their paths are most unlikely to have ever crossed.¹
Local folk hero
David (Davy) Crockett was born on August 17, 1786, the fifth of nine children in a cabin along the banks of the Nolichucky River, near Limestone Tennessee some 225 years ago and Greene County is having a celebration starting this very weekend in commemoration of that historic event. The local historians are saying that Davy’s famous long rifle is going to be there on display for this event. Davy Crockett’s birthplace is located on a 105 acre site bordering the river with numerous camp sites and also a modern swimming pool (in season). Tours are arranged to view the simple cabin, museum and yard throughout the day at the nearby Forest Rangers office.
Life was hard during the late 18th century, and the frontiersmen had to even make many of the tools they used. They bartered for what they needed and there was always the danger of Indians living nearby. Growing up in the hills and river valleys of east Tennessee with little formal education, the boys in the settlements soon learned to care for themselves and that their long rifle and knife were their best friends. They learned to trap for bear and coons and to hunt for wild game most plentiful in this area. Davy married Mary Polly Finley when he was 20 years old and they had two sons. He became well known throughout the area for his skill with his rifle, as a soldier, legislator and folk hero and was even famous for his coon skinned cap which drew a lot of attention sittin’ atop the head of a long-legged 6 foot man.
He joined the US Army in 1813 and served under General Andrew Jackson, a fellow Tennessean who later became president. Davy’s young wife died in 1815 and he married Elizabeth Patton, a widow who already had two small children. In 1821 he was elected to the state legislature and went on to serve as a US Congressman in 1827. He wrote his autobiography in 1834 and moved his family to Texas after the territory declared its’ independence from Mexico, and he later died at the Alamo, a Spanish Mission with about 200 other Texas volunteers loyal to the territory.
Movies as well as a TV series during the 1950’s depicted much of his adult life and adventures while the TV theme song even made it to #1 on the Hit Parade…