David Crockett in Texas

Myths & Legends of the Texas Revolution

The Alamo
Jul 15, 2016 · 6 min read

By: Dr. Bruce Winders, Alamo Director of History & Curation

“I will set out for the Rio grand in a few days with the volunteers from the United States.” — David Crockett, Jan 9, 1836

Chester Harding. Portrait of David Crockett, 1834. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

David Crockett easily remains one of the most popular figures associated with the Alamo. So important is he to the story that a persistent misconception contends that he was the commander of a contingent known as the “Tennessee Mounted Volunteers” who followed him from their home state to Texas. In reality, Crockett came to Texas accompanied by a few friends and a nephew[i], reportedly vowing to be content to serve Texas in the role of a “high private.” In early January 1836 Crockett, enlisted as a private in the Volunteer Auxiliary Corps for a term of six months, prepared to march off to Matamoros as part of Johnson’s and Grant’s ill-fated expedition. It was clear, however, that he hoped to revive his political fortunes, telling his family that he hoped to be elected a delegate to serve at the upcoming constitutional convention to be held at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Failing in that endeavor due to questions over his eligibility, he was sent off to San Antonio de Béxar. Arriving there around February 8, Crockett became a member of Captain William B. Harrison’s volunteer company. However, his status as a former Congressman and colonel of Tennessee militia guaranteed that his fellow volunteers accorded him a special place in the garrison.


Documents Regarding David Crockett in Texas

January 14, 1836: Crockett signed an oath at Nacogdoches to serve as a Volunteer Auxiliary Corps for a term of six months.

“I do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the Provisional Government of Texas, or any future republican Government that hereafter may be declared, and that I will serve her honestly and faithfully against all her enemies and opposers whatsoever, and observe and obey the orders of the Governor of Texas, the orders and decrees of the present and future authorities and the orders of the officers appointed over me according to the rules and regulations for the government of Texas. ‘So help me God.’

John C. Allison — Henry S. Stouffered — Wm. M. Berryhill — H. B. Durham — John Frederick — J. H. Taylor — Edward W. Taylor — Luke M. Bast — Jas. Greenwood — Oliver Fainsworth — James Wilkinson — Achilles Marr — William J. Hinkey — O. T. Brown — John Viven — W. W. Bell — James A. Lylorster — Luke Skinner — John Dursy — K. H. Douglass — T. C. Thompson — T. B. Hunter — Thomas Z. — George Johnson — James Camba — T. S. Walden — G. B. Raymond Abner Glidwell — William C. Hays — John Fox — Christopher C. Bruff — David Cowens — John D. Lodgeback — M. H. Randolph — Jacob Eyler — David Furguson — David Crockett — George Waggoner — Henry W. Hardeman — Henry Williams — J. G. Washington — Archibald Henry — William Patton — James Windsor — Daniel Murphy — Christopher C. Stilley — Asa Reinhart — A. Herney, Jr. — John H. Dillan — John Smith — James Armstrong — Isaac R. Mitchell — F. D. Gary — Peter M. Holmes — Ralph E. Sevey — Joseph E. Field — Manasseh Seven — Johann Bernard Doom — Hugh M. Swift — James H. Isbell — T. C. Edwards — B. B. Bradley — George M. Deadrick — Robert Mabert — George M. Leaston — William Mabert

The above sworn to and subscribed to me this 14 Jany. 1836.

John Forbes

1st Judge of the Municipality of

Nacogdoches”

Sources: John H. Jenkins, ed., Papers of the Texas Revolution, 4:13–14. {Jenkins’ source is the Nacogdoches Archives, Texas.}


Regarding Crockett’s Oath

“Col. Forbes has recently related to us an interesting anecdote of the celebrated Crockett. At the commencement of war the latter arrived at Nacogdoches accompanied by several volunteers. Soon after their arrival they proceeded to the office of col, Forbes (who was then the first judge of the municipality of), to take the oath of allegiance. The colonel immediately wrote out the following form:

‘I do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the provisional government of Texas, or any future government that hereafter may be declared, and that I will serve her honestly and faithfully against all her enemies and opposers whatsoever, and observe and obey the orders of the Governor of Texas, the orders and decrees of the present and future authorities and the orders of the officers appointed over me according to the rules and articles for the government of Texas so help me God.’

Upon offering it to Crockett he refused to sign it, saying that he was willing to take an oath to support any future republican, but could not subscribe his name to this form, as the future government might be despotic; the colonel therefore inserted the word republican between the words future and government, and Crockett signed the instrument. The original has lately been deposited in the office of the secretary of War, in which the word republican is interlined, and beneath it is the autograph of David Crockett.

Texas Telegraph.

According to Shackford, this story appeared as a reprinted article in Niles Register, June 23, 1838.

Source: Shackford, David Crockett, 217–18. {Niles Register, LIV, 258, cited on 313, endnote 10.

NOTE: Shackford points out that Crockett wrote that he had already “taken the oath of government and have enrolled my name as a volunteer” in his letter of January 9th to his son and daughter. He suggests an explanation that one of the following cases was true: one of the documents (the letter or the oath) was misdated; Crockett had taken a verbal oath and made it official in Nacogdoches; or Forbes complied several lists of names, including Crockett’s earlier enlistment, and dated them all January 14th.

Source: Shackford, David Crockett, 219.

Crockett at Washington on the Brazos

“Washington 23rd January 1836

This is to Certify that John Lott furnished my Self and four other Volunteers on our way to the army with accommodations for our Seleves & horses The Government will pay him $7.50 cts —

David Crockett”

Source: Shackford, David Crockett, 222. {Shackford says this original of this document is in the Comptroller’s Military Service Records, Texas State Library.}

On the Same Day at Washington:

“This is to Certify that John Lott furnished myself and Mr. Kerr & two horses on our way to the army for Four Dollors which the Government will pay

Wm. B. Harrison Cap”

Source: Chariton, 100 Days in Texas, 167. {According to Chariton, the Crockett and Harrison receipts were written on the same page of paper but that it was then torn to separate them. He says the original documents are in the Ruby Mixon Papers, Barker Texas History Center, UT Austin. See 100 Days in Texas, 193, endnote 110.}

On January 26, 1836, at Washington . . .

This is to certify that John Lott furnished myself and horce one night for which the government will settle

B. M. Thomas

One of D Crocketts Com”

Source: Chariton, 100 Days in Texas, 171. {Ruby Mixon Papers, Barker Texas History Center, UT Austin}

Crockett at San Antonio de Béxar

February 11, 1836: Letter from Green B. Jameson to Governor Henry Smith.

“. . . We are now one hundred and fifty strong Col Crockett & Col Travis both here & Col Bowie in command of the volunteer force. Col. Neill left today for home on account of an express from his family informing him of their ill health . . . .”

Source: Chariton, 100 Days in Texas, 223. {Chariton’s source was Binkley, 2:409–410.}


[i] Crockett’s Original Party: William Patton, nephew, Abner Burgin, neighbor (isn’t with him at Nacogdoches), Lindsay Tinkle, neighbor (isn’t with him at Nacogdoches); Crockett’s Party Leaving Nacogdoches: William Patton, nephew, Peter Harper, Jesse Benton, Daniel Cloud, B. Archer Thomas, John Harris (his cousin), Micajah Autry, & about a dozen others; Crockett’s Party that Arrived at San Antonio: Micajah Autry, B. Archer Thomas, Daniel Cloud.

Crockett’s Route: Down the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Arkansas River; Up the Arkansas River to Little Rock; From Little Rock to Fulton, Arkansas, on the Red River; westward up the Red River, passing through Lost Prairie, Arkansas; continued along the Red River exploring; crossed the Red River into Texas north of Clarksville; from Clarksville traveled to Nacogdoches & San Augustine; from there went on to Washington-on-the-Brazos; from Washington-on-the-Brazos came to San Antonio. Crockett left Memphis in late November and appeared in Little Rock around December 5, 1835. He crossed into Texas near Clarksville in late December. He journey then took him to San Augustine (January 9, 1836), Washington-on-the-Brazos (January 23, 1836), and finally to San Antonio on or around February 8, 1836. James A. Shackford, David Crockett, 212–13.

4

4 claps
The Alamo

Written by

Site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and Shrine to Texas Liberty www.thealamo.org