Celebrating the life of David Crockett

Friday, August 17 will mark the 232nd anniversary of iconic Alamo defender David Crockett’s birth. Born on August 17, 1786 in what is now Greene County, Tennessee, which was part of North Carolina at the time, David Crockett became one of the most well-known folk heroes in American and Texas history.

Named after his grandfather, Crockett earned a reputation early in life for his skills at hunting and storytelling. The “King of the Wild Frontier” would enlist in the Tennessee militia in 1813. In 1818, he was elected to the position of lieutenant colonel of the 57th Regiment of the Tennessee militia. He served in the Tennessee General Assembly before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827. Crockett served two terms as the U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 9th district, from 1827 to 1831 and again in 1833 until 1835.

Crockett left Tennessee in 1835 for Texas after he failed to win reelection to his congressional seat. He arrived at the Alamo on February 8, 1836, only 15 days before the Mexican Army arrived. He died in the battle and siege of the Alamo on March 6th, 1836. Historians debate whether he was killed in the battle or was executed once it was over. The issue is confusing because there were executions at the Alamo, and several accounts list Crockett as one of those put to death. On the other hand, Travis’ slave, Joe, claimed that Crockett “died fighting like a tiger.”

Before his death, Crockett’s larger than life persona had already made him a folk hero. Stage plays and almanacs spread his reputation as a soldier, politician and frontiersman. His legend would grow posthumously in the decades to come. The 1950s Disney series, Davy Crockett, would present Crockett to a new generation. Starring Fess Parker, Davy Crockett introduced the Alamo defender to a new generation and helped cement his legacy as one of the best-known American folk heroes.

In honor of Crockett’s birthday, the Alamo will be holding a special public event on Friday, August 17. Starting at 6:30 p.m., visitors will be allowed to go through the Church and Long Barrack museum where staff will give information about Crockett and the artifacts that pertain to him. At 7 p.m., a living historian portraying Davy Crockett will give an educational talk about his life and role at the Alamo. Following this, there will be a rubber band shooting gallery to pay homage to the famous backwoodsman, who was an expert marksman with his black powder rifle. At 8 p.m., we will show Disney’s Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.

We hope that you not only join us in remembering David Crockett on his birthday this month, but remembering all the Alamo defenders. Remember the Alamo!

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